In the church life today we need to be watchful and faithful in preserving the nature of the church; according to the Lord Jesus, the church must be like a mustard seed, sojourning on earth and being for God’s satisfaction.
The church as the Lord Jesus envisioned it is something quite different from what the appearance of the church is today on earth, and therefore we need to come back to the word of God and be watchful to preserve the nature of the church.
Our Christian life and church life should be governed by the word of God, and what the church is in its nature is what the Bible says it is – and not what we see today that it is.
The Bible clearly says that the church is the church of God, it is manifested and expressed in a locality as the local church, it is the church of Christ, it is composed of the saints who are sanctified and called, and it is a church in fellowship with the universal Body of Christ (1 Cor. 1:2).
The nature of the church is not earthly but heavenly; the nature of the church is divine (it is of God), Christly (it is of Christ), resurrectionly (it is of and in resurrection), and heavenly (it is under God’s authority).
In God’s eyes the church is of God, of Christ, of resurrection, and of the nature of heaven. We need to lift up our eyes from looking at the condition of the church and realize that the nature of the church is wonderful, pure, and divine.
Every local church is a church of Christ, in the element of Christ; nothing natural or of the self does the Body life allow. The church is a pure product out of Christ, just as Eve is a pure product out of Adam.
The church is an entity fully in resurrection; it is not natural or in the old creation, but in the resurrection life of Christ.
Furthermore, the church is heavenly, that is, the church is seated with Christ in ascension in the heavenlies, and the church is under God’s authority. The unique Head of the church is Christ, and the only One who has the authority is Christ Himself.
We all as the many members of the Body of Christ are learning to live a normal daily life under the authority of Christ, allowing Christ to rule and reign in our being and among us, and in the church life we acknowledge only the authority of Christ, taking Him as the Head and Leader.
Our prayer as the church, as we live under the authority of God, is that God’s kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in the heavens.
Seeing how the Nature of the Church has been Changed from a Mustard to a Tree
In Matt. 13 the Lord Jesus spoke a series of parables concerning the church as the kingdom of God; the kingdom comes first as the seed of life, and our heart can be different kinds of soil in which the kingdom seed falls.
When we receive the word with a good heart, the word grows and bears fruit for the kingdom of God. Together, we are the church, the Body of Christ, and the “field of God”.
However, there may be some who are sown by the enemy as tares, some false believers among us, who will be manifested by the Lord at the judgement seat (vv. 24-30).
In Matt. 13:31-32 the Lord gave the parable concerning the abnormal development of the outward appearance of the kingdom: the mustard seed which is supposed to grow small, yearly, and bear fruit for man’s food, has grown greater than the herbs and became a tree, so that the birds of heaven come and roost in its branches.
God’s intention concerning the church is that it would like a small herb, growing yearly, bearing fruit for God’s satisfaction; what happened throughout the years, however, is that the nature of the church was transmuted and changed.
When Constantine the Great welcomed the church and change the state religion to “Christianity”, he brought in many false believers into Christianity, mixed the truth in the Bible with many pagan practices, and thus changed the nature of the church.
The church, according to its heavenly and spiritual nature, it should be like the mustard, a small plant sojourning on the earth and bearing fruit for God’s satisfaction; but in Christianity, the nature of the church has been changed to become a great tree deeply rooted and settled on earth, flourishing with its enterprises.
Instead of being something reachable and accessible that gives the life supply to those who come to it, the church in its nature has been changed to become a monstrous and huge tree, deeply rooted on the earth, flourishing with its enterprises (the branches of the tree) to lodge many evil persons and things.
The outward organization of the outward appearance of the kingdom of the heavens is something absolutely big (which will become the Great Babylon) and abominable in God’s eyes; its nature has been changed, and instead of bearing fruit yearly and being ready to die and be resurrected, it is now rooted and established, with many evil things and people inside it.
We as constituents of the kingdom of God and members of the Body of Christ, the church, should be like a crop that produces food for the satisfaction of God and man.
We need to see how the nature of the church has been changed into something different from what God wants it to be, and we need to be faithful and watchful in preserving the nature of the church.
In God’s eyes, the church should be like a herb that produces food for God’s satisfaction and man’s supply; but the nature and function of the church has been changed to become a tree, a lodging place for birds. Oh Lord Jesus!
Lord Jesus, grant us to see the nature of the church the way You see it. Save us from being part of the great and high tree in Christianity, which has its nature transmuted and changed from what God originally designed it to be. Oh Lord, we want to return to the pure revelation in Your word and be watchful and faithful in preserving the nature of the church. May we be those who eat Christ, drink Christ, experience Christ, and bear forth Christ as the fruit of life for God and man to enjoy and be satisfied!
We need to be Watchful and Faithful in Preserving the Nature of the Church
If the Lord has mercy on us to expose the real nature of the church in Christianity today, we will prostrate ourselves before Him and come back to the pure revelation in God’s word so that we may be faithful and watchful in preserving the nature of the church.
The church, according to its heavenly and spiritual nature, should be like a mustard, sojourning on earth; this means that our home is not here on earth, and we are merely sojourners and travellers, looking forward to the city which has foundations, the New Jerusalem.
In His absolute wisdom and infinite design, God has ordained certain principles for every living thing; He created all things according to their kind, and in His eyes it is an abominable thing for the nature of a living thing to be changed.
A peach grows after the peach kind, an apple after its kind, and corn after its kind; it is abnormal and against the principle ordained by God in His creation for a plant, vegetable, or animal to grow not according to its kind. God never makes mistakes: He made us men and women, and it is abominable in His eyes for us to think that we should be a different gender.
This is where the world has got to right now: both humanly speaking and spiritually speaking they have been corrupted to such an extent that they want to change the nature of things.
A mustard herb is small, annual, and bears fruit for man’s satisfaction; the church should be sojourning on earth, we should be ready to move for the Lord’s interest, and our fruit of living Christ should be what others see and enjoy for their satisfaction.
But what the church has become today is different: it is a transmuted nature, not bearing fruit to feed God and man, and not being sojourning on the earth. We need to be watchful in preserving the nature of the church, and we need to be faithful to preserve its nature according to what the Bible says.
We need to be “annual” herbs and not “perennial” herbs; we should not be rooted deeply into the earth for a long period of time, for the Lord’s intention is that we be sojourners on the earth.
We need to enjoy Christ, be filled with Christ, be saturated with Christ, live Christ, and express Christ, having Him as our everything, so that the fruit that the church bears is just Christ for the satisfaction of God and man.
For this, however, we need to be watchful and faithful in preserving the nature of the church. This will make us different from the others, even from our own brothers and sisters in denominations today.
Being according to the Bible in preserving the nature of the church will make us distinct and different from others, but at the same time we are approved in God’s eyes. We should never give up having the pure nature of the church according to the Bible.
If we lose our taste, our distinctiveness, we will become useless in God’s hand. We want to be correct and approved before God, having the divine correctness and not a political correctness.
Lord Jesus, we come back to Your pure and living word to be watchful and faithful in preserving the nature of the church. May the all the churches in the Lord’s recovery be according to what the New Testament says. May we be those who sojourn on earth, being for Your testimony wherever we are, and may we bear forth the word of life, living Christ and expressing Him for others to enjoy and be satisfied with Christ. Amen, Lord, make us watchful and make us faithful in preserving the nature of the church!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by Andrew Yu for this week, and portions from, Life-study of Matthew, msg. 38 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Knowing Life and the Church, msg. 4 (week 4), The Nature of the Church.
- Hymns on this topic:
# The Kingdom should as mustard be, / A little herb, yet good for food, / But it has changed into a “tree,” / A system of great magnitude. / Instead of being good for food, / A lodge of “birds” it has become: / ’Tis now a place where evil men / And evil spirits make their home. (Hymns #945)
# The Church’s life just as the herb must be, / Grown out of Christ, who is the mustard seed; / Hidden and transient, little on the earth, / But good for food the hungry ones to feed. (Hymns #829)
# Lord we pray, preserve us faithful in the way / All our days, never to fall away. / By Your grace, keep us pursuing You, / Taking up the cross to follow You. / Consecrate we unreservedly, / Absolute for You entirely. / In our hearts, Lord, let the highways be / Unto Zion single-heartedly. (Song on following the Lord)
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